Election 2008

DNC Chairman Howard Dean

Democratic Party to Decide on Florida and Michigan Delegates Saturday

May 29, 2008 09:59 AM
by Christopher Coats
With just three primaries left, the Democratic nomination could hinge on two states that were never supposed to count.

30-Second Summary

With Barack Obama holding a sizable lead over Hilary Clinton, all eyes now turn to a meeting of the Democratic Party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee—a board charged with deciding if and how the results from Michigan and Florida should be counted.

Scheduled for the morning of May 31 in Washington, D.C., the meeting, if decided in Clinton’s favor, could help the New York senator close the gap on Obama.

The two states lost their right to seat their delegates at this year’s national convention as punishment for advancing their primaries on the contest calendar.

As a part of the punishment, all candidates pledged not to campaign in either state and Obama joined other candidates in removing himself from the Michigan ballot while Clinton remained.

The tense debate over the disqualified delegates has resulted in a planned demonstration by Clinton supporters scheduled for outside the Washington meeting.

The Clinton campaign has argued that if the two states were seated as they stand, Clinton’s popular vote, combined with positive results in the three remaining contests, could give her the popular vote lead, thus providing an argument for her to continue to the party’s convention in August.

An alternative argument is to convince the party’s superdelegates to switch their support to Clinton and override the primary’s pledged delegates.

Since January, Clinton has repeatedly pushed to honor the states’ results despite the DNC declaration, though she did sign the initial pledge recognizing the punishment late last year.

Several different parties have proposed solutions on how the delegates should be awarded, though none have received the blessing of both campaigns.

Headline Links: A vote on Florida and Michigan

Background: Clinton's final gamble

Reactions: Who is to blame?

Opinion & Analysis: Party history, party future

Reference: The committee and the candidates


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